Snowboarding takes its place in Paralympic Games

Canada will have four athletes in competiton when snowboarding makes its debut as a Paralympic sport in Sochi on Friday.

Event 'important for the growth of the Winter Games,' International Paralympic Committee says

In 2012, the International Paralympic Committee announced that para-snowboarding, formerly adaptive snowboarding, would be added to the Paralympic program under the alpine skiing discipline. The sport involves hundreds of athletes worldwide and Canada Snowboard will send four athletes to Sochi to compete.

The Canadian team consists of Ian Lockey of Trail, B.C., John Leslie of Armprior, Ont., Tyler Mosher of Whistler, B.C., and Michelle Salt of Calgary, Alta.

Event and specifications

Para-snowboarding combines elements of racing and freestyle as athletes travel down a course featuring banked turns, rollers and jumps.

Athletes race down the course individually competing for the best overall time. Each athlete will have three runs; rankings are based on the combined total of the racer's top two times. The course set up is the same as for able-bodied snowboard cross events at the provincial level.

The IPC has two categories in which athletes can compete: upper limb and lower limb classes. At the 2014 Paralympic Games, only lower limb athletes are eligible to compete as upper limb class has not yet been added as a Paralympic event.

Recognition and reaction

"Snowboard is a fast paced and extremely exciting sport and we are delighted that it will form part of the alpine skiing program at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games," said Xavier Gonzalez, CEO of the IPC.

"It is important for the growth of the Winter Games that there are more sports and more medal events to contest. I am particularly looking forward to see how athletes perform in this exciting new discipline and believe it will prove extremely popular with spectators and TV viewers alike."

"Snowboarding is a young and exciting sport and one which is attracting new audiences and participants everywhere," Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, said..

"Its inclusion in the Paralympics program will give a further boost to the promotion of Paralympic sports across Russia and highlights the opportunities that sport provides to everyone. It also reflects our determination to deliver the most innovative and successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in history."

With files from the International Paralympic Committee